Largo Middle School student Kersey Williams, right, tries to net a giant soccer ball to demonstrate Newton’s law that more massive objects require more force to move.
LARGO – Music with a heavy bass rhythm rocked the Largo Middle School gymnasium last week as NASA launched a concert aimed at spurring student interest in studying science.
The demand for technicians is growing three times faster than all other occupations while enrollment in science, mathematics and engineering courses continues to decline according to Joe Duraes, a spokesman for the space agency’s “FMA Live!” concert series.
On April 14, some 1,100 Largo Middle School students, ages 11 to 14, were entertained by the program which uses hip-hop depiction of Sir Isaac Newton as a buffoon and interactive demonstrations to explain Newton’s three laws of motion.
The show depicts a hapless Newton discovering gravity after being perplexed by an apple falling on his head in the park where he was eating lunch.
Sponsored by Honeywell, a major NASA supplier, the talented professional staff then used hip-hop music and dance to demonstrate Newton’s laws of physics on force, mass and acceleration – hence the “FMA” in the concert title.
“We want you to be more interested in math because you are the future scientists of the United States,” said Mike Elias, Honeywell’s director of engineering.
“Among you may be the first astronaut to walk on Mars,” he said.
Then, the FMA cast helped two student volunteers, Robbie Guy and Jamarious Boatwright, launch themselves onto a wall made of a fabric fastener to demonstrate how an object in motion stays in motion.
But, adding acceleration, via a springboard, the pair was able to get higher on the wall than they could without the boost.
To demonstrate that more force is needed to move items with more mass, student Kersey Williams first netted a regulation soccer ball. Williams then had to exert considerably more of a kick to even move a larger soccer ball and she was unable to budge a soccer ball twice her size.
Teachers Katie Hoch and Cindy Kubes then donned overstuffed suits to combat on stage as sumo wrestlers to demonstrate the affects of acceleration on mass.
And a highlight of the show for many was a giant pie in the face of teacher Sherri Bowdich as she sat in a NASA hovering vehicle. She was propelled across the stage and when she hit a giant pie, the filling was propelled in the opposite direction.
The FMA Live! Program has traveled 23,000 miles, covering 32 states and reached some 73,000 students in 153 schools at no cost to the participating schools.
The Largo Middle School was the only appearance in Florida this year for the acclaimed program according to Duraes.